The toilet with transparent facades of architect Shigeru Ban in Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park (Shibuya district) in Tokyo on August 19.

With their heated seats and their small jets of water directed towards the various private parts, Toto toilets have supplanted the traditional ones. washiki, those oblong enamel bowls dug into the ground that are still found in many places in Japan, but which now evoke a certain rustic character.

Since the launch of these futuristic thrones in 1980, the Toto company has continued to refine its image of high-tech, provocative and progressive luxury, by financing a prototype such as the “Toto caca” (in 2012), a three-way motorcycle. fuel wheels with human faeces whose seat is shaped like a toilet bowl, or by creating (in 2015) a toilet museum in Tokyo. With its success helping, the toilets have become a subject of national pride in Japan.

Read the story (in 2014): Japanese artist Shigeru Ban wins Pritzker Prize for architecture

So much so that in anticipation of the 2020 Olympic Games (Olympics), the city of Tokyo has entrusted the best architects in the country with a program of seventeen public toilets for the bustling district of Shibuya. As displayed on the operation site, the project aimed to dispel the negative assumptions attached to this equipment (poor hygiene, odors, insecurity, etc.). The quality of the design, the prestige of the architects (of the sixteen selected, no less than four won a Pritzker), a continuous cleaning system and seats manufactured by Toto should contribute to this.

Another stated objective: the promotion of an inclusive society, which is reflected in each project by the existence, alongside men’s and women’s toilets, of a third room, intended both for people with disabilities, those who have a changing baby and those who refuse to be assigned a sexual gender – it remains to be seen how such a conception of inclusion will be appreciated …

Tangy shades

A virus having postponed the Olympics to an uncertain date, the program has taken a little delay, but the delivery is done at a regular pace. Monday, September 7 in the morning, in Jingu-Dori Park, around thirty people awaited the opening of the toilets of Tadao Ando, ​​a small anthracite cone set with thin concrete slats and cut by two discs at the top and bottom, reminiscent of the master’s taste for geometric simplicity.

Read the interview with Tadao Ando, ​​architect (in 2018): “Stay in tension permanently”

More spectacular and openly prototypical, those of Shigeru Ban were inaugurated on Friday July 31. The architect to whom we owe, in France, the Center Pompidou-Metz and La Seine Musicale, installed his toilets in glass boxes with acid shades. Lavender, Pink and Orange in Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park; turquoise, green, lapis lazuli in Haru-no-Ogawa Play (or Community) park. The facades are transparent, which makes it possible to check the condition of the premises from the outside. Which also questions their real function. But the provocation is a joke. Once the door is passed and closed behind you, the windows become opaque. Everyone is therefore free to do what he or she has to do with confidence.

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